Module 3 Product

Setting One's Self Apart- Sean Vong

"The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"

In this novel, Robert Louis Stevenson exquisitely composes a harmonious medley of an intriguing story and the idea of setting one's self apart. The setting takes place in a Victorian society, which is crucial to the story's thematic ideas and ideals. A Victorian society puts the most importance on one's reputation, in which the people do not wish to ruin or destroy another person's reputation. This major ideal also contributes to people in a Victorian society to keep silence rather than gossiping, but also keeping silence when it comes to speaking about the irrational. The inhabitants of such society do not yearn to confront irrationalities, which then also leads to the novel's main thematic idea: Duality in human nature.Thus, the setting of "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" plays a prominent role in the character's actions and motives. With the setting in mind, Dr. Jekyll attempts to set himself apart from the Victorian society in several ways. Rather than ignoring the irrational, Dr. Jekyll is inspired to discover the irrational and to understand the nature of human duality. Motivated to separate good from evil, Jekyll concocts a potion that supposedly will purify his mind or soul from evil. Although the potion is somewhat successful in isolating good and evil, it has severe consequences. Instead of dichotomizing the good and evil parts of his mind, the potion brought out the evil. In turn, this created Mr. Edward Hyde, Dr. Jekyll's evil counterpart. Mr. Hyde is a hideous and evil representation of Jekyll's malicious intentions and desires, as shown by his murder and assaults throughout the novel. Apparent by Jekyll's reputation, he is the polar opposite of Hyde in that he is humanitarian, charitable, and caring. The distinct differences in actions and personality represent the theme of human duality and are symbolized through Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Ultimately, Dr. Jekyll set himself apart from Victorian society through his creation of the potion and accentuating the nature of human duality in himself.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Supporting Quotations

“He is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify the point. He’s an extraordinary-looking man, and yet I really can name nothing out of the way. No, sir; I can make no hand of it; I can’t describe him. And it’s not want of memory; for I declare I can see him this moment." - Enfield's statement helps the readers define and understand an ideal of Victorian society. His inability to describe the appearance of Edward Hyde correlates to the ideal of silence and the inapproachable irrational.

"He put the glass to his lips, and drank at one gulp. A cry followed; he reeled, staggered, clutched at the table and held on, staring with injected eyes, gasping with open mouth; and as I looked there came, I thought, a change—he seemed to swell—his face became suddenly black and the features seemed to melt and alter—and at the next moment, I had sprung to my feet and leaped back against the wall, my arm raised to shield me from that prodigy, my mind submerged in terror.
“O God!” I screamed, and “O God!” again and again; for there before my eyes—pale and shaken, and half fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death—there stood Henry Jekyll!" - Lanyon's description of the transformation of Jekyll to Hyde finally connects the relationship between the two. This is the moment in the novel where the reader clearly can distinguish the dualism of Jekyll and Hyde and how Jekyll successfully set himself apart form society.

"It was on the moral side, and in my own person, that I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both; and from an early date . . . I had learned to dwell with pleasure, as a beloved daydream, on the thought of the separation of these elements." - One of the most important quotations from the novel, this statement from Jekyll identifies the Victorian ideal of human duality and the motive for Jekyll's creation of the potion.

"[B]ut I was still cursed with my duality of purpose; and as the first edge of my penitence wore off, the lower side of me, so long indulged, so recently chained down, began to growl for licence. Not that I dreamed of resuscitating Hyde; . . . no, it was in my own person that I was once more tempted to trifle with my conscience. . . .
[However,] this brief condescension to my evil finally destroyed the balance of my soul. And yet I was not alarmed; the fall seemed natural, like a return to the old days before I had made discovery. It was a fine . . . day. . . . I sat in the sun on a bench; the animal within me licking the chops of memory; the spiritual side a little drowsed, promising subsequent penitence, but not yet moved to begin. After all, I reflected, I was like my neighbours; and then I smiled, comparing myself with other men, comparing my active goodwill with the lazy cruelty of their neglect. And at the very moment of that vainglorious thought, a qualm came over me, a horrid nausea and the most deadly shuddering. . . . I began to be aware of a change in the temper of my thoughts, a greater boldness, a contempt of danger, a solution of the bonds of obligation. I looked down; my clothes hung formlessly on my shrunken limbs; the hand that lay on my knee was corded and hairy. I was once more Edward Hyde." - From Jekyll's confession, this lengthy statement thoroughly explains Hyde's creation and his overwhelming influence on Jekyll. It reconfirms that Jekyll and Hyde are one character and that the potion eventually brought out Jekyll's powerful desires.

"Frankenstein" Excerpt

This excerpt from "Frankenstein" complements the thematic idea of setting one's self apart in "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", while still presenting its own unique presentation of the theme. As the speaker in this excerpt is secluded to his cell, he notes observations that lead to an enlightenment about life and death. The surrounding objects reveal to him that with life there is death and with death there is life. This is especially emphasized by the worm crawling through the skull of the corpse, showing how one's death produces life for another. Despite appearing to be a simple event, this occurrence led to an overall epiphany or enlightenment that sets the speaker apart from the society in which he inhabits. Fundamentally, the speaker sets himself apart when he understands the progression of life and death.

"Frankenstein" Excerpt Quotations

"I saw how the fine form of man was degraded and wasted; I beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blooming cheek of life; I saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain. I paused, examining and analysing all the minutiae of causation, as exemplified in the change from life to death, and death to life" - This quotation supports the idea that the speaker realized that with life there is death and with death there is life through observing the objects in his cell.

"a light so brilliant and wondrous, yet so simple, that while I became dizzy with the immensity of the prospect which it illustrated" - The speaker feels as he has been enlightened as symbolized by the shining light.

"I was surprised that among so many men of genius who had directed their inquiries towards the same science, that I alone should be reserved to discover so astonishing a secret" - In this quotation, the speaker has set himself apart as he has conceived an idea no one else has in his society.

"After days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter" - Progressing with the evolution of life and death, the speaker has successfully set himself apart through making his idea reality.

"The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" Pop Culture Reference

Arthur- I was Jekyll Jekyll Hyde

Pop Culture Reference Analysis

Besides the catchy lyrics that easily get stuck in one's head, this harmonious song summarizes the premise of "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". Although quite a stretch, the video and song represents the bare bones of the novel, such as Jekyll's transformation into Hyde and how Jekyll did not need the potion anymore to transform. In addition, it somewhat emphasizes how Hyde was malevolent while Jekyll was quite amiable. For the audience, which obviously is comprised of young children and sad parents accompanying them, this pop culture reference nails it on the head when it comes down to showing a glimpse of the main theme of the novel, which is how Dr. Jekyll sets himself apart from the Victorian society he inhabits through a potion he created. Of course, no mere child would say, "Wow! The Brain really helped me understand that Dr. Jekyll defied Victorian society and faced the irrational by creating a potion that transforms him into Mr. Hyde!".

Final Analysis

Despite the literary works and references to be differing in nature and details, they share the theme of setting one's self apart. Whether it be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or Frankenstein, both characters set themselves apart from the society in which they inhabit. In both cases, the characters find themselves questioning the ideals of the society they live in and eventually become enlightened by their thoughts. Their ingenuity sparks their ambitions and provokes them to set themselves apart. For this analysis, the differing storylines are insignificant for the purpose of evaluating how one sets himself apart. Instead, focusing on the similarities of how each character sets himself apart will better interpret what it means to set one's self apart. In Stevenson's novel, Dr. Jekyll sets himself apart in a Victorian society. The inhabitants of the society are afraid to approach the irrational, while Jekyll is intrigued and aspires to discover the irrational. Thus, Jekyll concocts the potion in an attempt to separate the good and evil of his mind. However, this leads to his transformations into Hyde and illegal activities. Similarly, Frankenstein recognizes that with life there is death and with death there is life. This enlightenment he receives is exclusive to himself and differs him from the society he lives in. Conclusively, Dr. Jekyll and Frankenstein set themselves apart from their society because of their differing values from the society's, which is often the case in other situations involving this thematic idea.